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Milestones

14-Mar-2005

As you may notice, postings over the last week have been pretty non-existent.  Last Sunday, was actually my 3-month anniversary for going "live".  December 6th was my "launch date".  I had been posting for the few days prior but wanted to get a decent foundation before letting the world see the site.  And, actually, when I started I wasn’t positive this was going to be something that I would continue but I wanted to give it at try. 

Well, three months and 115 posts later I guess I’ve made my decision! :-)  I planned to mark the day with an introduction to a logo a friend of mine created for me.  You can see the "Culinary Fool" in the first photo album and at the end of this post.  I LOVE this logo.  I had provided Kevan with a (really) rough sketch of an idea and he turned it into this wonderful, whimsical logo.  If you need any type of graphic design, illustration or animation I highly recommend him.  You can view more of his work on his site.  Even i f you don’t need design services just take a look – his site is really fun!

And then I thought I’d do the post about Crow and The Great Nabob – I really was impressed with the attention we received at Crow. 

Well, my plans all changed at 7:00 am.  My Dad called to tell me that my Mom had passed away a couple hours prior.  While this was hard news it was not surprising news.  My Mom has been very sick for about eight years and pretty much confined to their house for the last six.  I had seen her the Sunday prior and was planning on heading down again on Monday, as earlier in the week the nurse who visits a couple times a week told my Dad that the time was very close. 

So instead of writing about a happy milestone I packed my bags and made the 3 1/2+ hour drive South to Salem.  Most of the week was spent taking care of all the things that need to be taken care of when someone dies.  Tuesday I had a small break in the activity and posted the Crow and Great Nabob entry.  It was a nice normal activity in the midst of lots of tedious and necessary but unwelcome activities. 

The funeral was Thursday and it was a really lovely 75° F day in Salem.  After the formal services about 35 family members and close friends joined us at the house for a light lunch.  As I was preparing the food for Thursday (a very simple affair) I couldn’t help but think about how much I really wanted to do an all out spread to celebrate my Mom’s life. Food is one of the main ways I express myself!  But it just wasn’t appropriate so we stayed with the simple.   

I have both my Mom and Dad to thank for my interest in cooking, wine and food.  From my early years I was encouraged to cook or bake.  (One of my first memories is of "cooking" liverwurst!  I don’t know where I came up with that, but I liked it!)  Being the oldest of the kids, my Mom enlisted my help in the kitchen as she was both making dinner and tending to the younger kids.  My Dad was mostly the cook for the holiday meals and I always helped him, too.  As I write this I’m not sure if it was because he was mostly giving my Mom a break or because he just really enjoyed it – I suspect it started as a little of both.  But from the two of them I gained a good foundation in the basics and more.  They always encouraged me to take on whatever looked good to me – whether it was something they were particularly interested in or not. 

Food still plays a large part in our family celebrations.  We are either planning what to have, dividing up the responsibilities, preparing, eating or cleaning up.  And then repeating the cycle. :-)

In addition to the creating, my family also brings me a long history of growing and preserving food.  Many of my fondest memories are of the extended family gathering at one house or another to pick pears or apples or cherries – whatever was in season – and then dividing them for all to take home to eat fresh and preserve what was left.  For years my parents maintained a very large garden.  The back area is filled with fruit and nut trees.  Then there are two very large produce areas – one for the perennial crops like grapes, berries, asparagus and the other with annual crops like tomatoes, corn, carrots, lettuces and on and on.  We never picked corn until the water was boiling and most other vegetables would only be picked or pulled at most a few hours before eating or preserving.  I learned to prize only the freshest ingredients. 

 The last several years as first (before my Mom became too ill) my parents traveled more and then as my Dad cared for my Mom 24 hours a day, the variety and size of the plantings has diminished.  It’s still my ideal garden though. 

Today that quest for fresh has translated into growing some things that I can’t live without (tomatoes!) and trawling the farmers’ markets (especially the summer neighborhood markets) for wonderful, just-picked fruits and vegetables. 

I thank my parents for all they taught me about food and for giving me an appreciation for fresh, quality ingredients and how using them elevates any meal. 

On Friday, I flew to Phoenix to meet up with M.  We are both big baseball fans, specifically Mariners fans, and this was our week to spend a few days at Spring Training getting to know the new guys and getting a little preview of summer weather.   I decided to join her for an abbreviated version of the original plans.  We came home last night and now here I am, back at the keyboard! 

So, as you can see the last week has been pretty busy and a bit draining, although a couple days in the 80° F desert heat was just what the doctor ordered!

Take a look at the new logo and watch for plenty of updates this week! 

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